A casino giant blasted Ontario for setting a spring launch date for its new online gambling market, while a First Nation vowed to fight it. Beginning April 4, provinces will be able to license private gaming websites and start taking wagers. In a Friday announcement, iGaming Ontario announced its market schedule.
Ontario is set to offer the nation’s first private online gambling market and become Canada’s biggest gaming market. In Canada, gambling has been illegal unless controlled by the provinces or territories. Many major gaming websites have also operated in this country for decades. According to reports, they currently control a large part of the market.
Great Canadian Gaming Vs Private Gambling Market in Ontario
Last month, Great Canadian Gaming mounted a last-minute lobbying campaign. Great Canadian commissioned a report late last year concluding the new regime would result in the loss of tax revenues and casino jobs. The company’s CEO Tony Rodio stated that the new regime does not meet the expectations of a competitive, fair gaming environment. This prevents hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue drop each year. The government would give land-based Canadian casinos a two-year exclusivity on online gaming. There are those that oppose this report who say that the best online casinos Canada should be moved on to the private market immediately. Foreign gaming companies already dominate the market.
A Great Canadian spokesperson urged the government to establish an exclusive right for casinos open in Ontario. Casinos will be able to accept online bets during that period of time and crack down on unregulated sites and online gamblers. Yet, Rivalry Corp reaffirmed its support for iGaming Ontario. The company wants the province to end those plans and let casinos in Canada handle legal online betting instead. Online and sports betting are currently only available through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
According to a Great Canadian report, casinos losing control over the market would result in many job losses. Gaming giant Great Canadian Gaming sent the government a report it commissioned last year. The report claims online gaming will destroy land-based casinos’ profits. It could result in a loss of 2,600 casino jobs and a loss of $2.8 billion in taxes according to their review.
Those who oppose the claim that an open market will provide new job opportunities in Canada. Many Canadian iGaming companies disagree with those findings. They argue that online gaming will stimulate innovation and create jobs in Canada.
More Concerns about Casinos in Canada
The CEO of Great Canadian, Tony Rodio, said they are not strictly against online gaming. Still, the province should take these concerns seriously. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the casino industry has been hard hit by many, prolonged closures. Rodio believes the Ontario government needs to take the time to resolve this issue properly. They want to work together with the government to find a solution that supports the recovery of the casino industry.
Others in the Canadian gaming industry agree that Great Canadian’s report has been released too late and is based on false grounds. Since foreign-owned gaming companies already dominate the market. There are those who think the brands should not be facing the grey market again during another event like Super Bowl or March Madness. Levy, the representative of TheScore says casino revenue has not been affected by Canadian online gambling. According to him, there are no job losses recorded and TheScore hired 200 new people in Toronto. In fact, the market is on the rise, and the company plans to hire as many people following their Ontario launch.
Awaiting the New Market
The Great Canadian report, compiled by gambling consultancy HLT Advisory, is almost three years old. It follows Ontario’s announcement of its plans for a regulated market. That was followed by consultations and the creation of a new government subsidiary last year. The government says the regulatory reform is aimed at regulating grey market operators. All to ensure fair gaming standards and ensure that missed tax revenues are collected. The reform was supposed to go into effect last year but has already fallen victim to bureaucratic delays.
In anticipation of the new market local and international firms have already invested a lot. They invested time and money in legal costs, software development, and preparations. It appears that the Great Canadian lacks the level of support of its counterparts. Sources in the industry report that all are preparing their own online services.
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